Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Redemption and Revenge

It was a heavenly feeling. I experienced what it felt like being in the promised land. The night was still young, and the party was not yet over. Chants of Super Bayern filled the air. We were going wild with celebrations. We were champions, Champions of Europe. I still remember that dreadful night a year ago. My world had come crashing down. But the class of 2013 knows how to kick back. And back with style they did. I continued to be the same pessimist I was, day in and day out. No matter which team we played I never kept hope. One by one we kept moving forward. The team was hell bent on redemption. There were a few new faces. Change makers. There was something in this squad that no Bayern team of the past ever had. There was strength in depth. Even our reserves were good enough to play a starting role in any other team. We were on a rampage on every front. The Bundesliga seemed a done deal 2 months before the end. Records kept breaking on weekly basis. Teams kept getting battered on monthly basis. We were dominant and ruthless. This team had a purpose, a mission of revenge. They played like winners. They never looked back. They never hesitated. They never gave up. They never lost hope. They were a juggernaut.
I also remember a night few years ago, when a Catalan club beat us 5-1 on aggregate. How helpless we were back then. How we so undeservedly lost to teams that relied on luck to beat us. But those days our now put to rest. It was a new story this time. A London team had stolen the trophy from our home, under the grasp of our hands. It was time to go there and get it back. It was the only thing that was on every one's mind. One by one we knocked others aside. From Valencia to Arsenal. From Juventus to Barcelona. And we did it with a huge stamp of authority. 4-0 ,7-0. All past ghosts were put to bed. We were on our way to Wembley. One last task, one last team to beat, one last hurdle to reach immortality. And Dortmund it was, our own Bundesliga neighbor. A neighbor that had from the past 2 years beaten us on so many aspects. Won the league back to back. Had brushed aside Bayern many times over the past few years. It was surely going to be the match of the decade.
It so happened that Bayern fan club in Mumbai decided that enough was enough. We needed to get out of the confinement and meet up to watch this match together. Share the happiness or sadness whatever be the outcome. And after years of existence we decided on a venue to meet up. As days passed by, the tension grew up. It was a match of equals. The league had been conquered in legendary fashion. We were In the finals of the German cup as well. Last seasons treble horror taught us that it's not over until it's over.
The day had arrived, the stage was set. The intensity increased. We were there all of us. We were around 20 Bayern fans, all there to support our team. Dortmund started strongly. Attack after attack. Neuer kept saving us. I kept taking solace in beer. Was it be a third final loss in the span of four years? The chant's died down. The opposition fans made fun of Robben. The first half ended goalless. In the second half we seemed stronger. We were the ones who kept the ball. In a jiffy we were ahead. Our boy from Croatia had scored. We were celebrating. We were ahead. Minutes later a mistake by our best defender that season gave Dortmund a penalty. Gundogan buried it in the net and the scores were level again. The match kept getting intense, both sides gave it their all. Time kept passing. The match was so intense that many claimed it to be the best match in the Champions League final history. The score was still level. Neuer kicked a long ball into the opposition box, the next European player of the year back heeled it, the flying Dutchman skipped pass a defender than with his left foot placed it towards the goal. Time stopped, our heart beats could be felt, as the ball slowly and steadily kept moving forward.... Last years Champions League finals flop, was this years Champions League final Hero. The ball had passed the goal line, as he sprinted towards the sidelines. He was crying. It was his redemption. His ghosts of the past were put to rest. He had done it. Bayern had done it. With just a few minutes to spare, we were on top. The whistle blew, and WE were Champions. CHAMPIONS OF EUROPE.
(A few months later, we best Chelsea in the European Super Cup on penalties. It was poetic justice. From our loss at the Allianz Arena, to our redemption at Wembly, to our revenge at Prague. We have come a long long way. Bayern Uber Alles )

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